Indica History

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The Indica History, written by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, transports us on a fascinating journey through history, exploration and conquest in the sixteenth century in the Viceroyalty of Peru. Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, whose life was a compendium of diverse talents and roles, transcends as a sailor, cosmographer, mathematician, writer, soldier, historian, philologist, astronomer, scientist, humanist, explorer and conqueror.
The author, born at the cultural crossroads between Alcalá de Henares and Pontevedra in the first half of the sixteenth century, brings to his Historia indica work a deep knowledge of geography and pre-Hispanic traditions, cemented by his experience on the battlefields and expeditions. Since his arrival in Peru in 1557, Sarmiento began a career of study and exploration that would lead him to face challenges such as the courts of the Inquisition and the inclemency of the Patagonian climate.
The Indica History is the culmination of his work as general cosmographer of Peru under the viceroyalty of Francisco Álvarez de Toledo. In it, Sarmiento gives us a multifaceted vision of the Incas and their legacy, merging their geographical and literary skills into three parts:

  • 1. Geographical description of the territory: This part presents a detailed description of the geography, natural environment and geographical features of the region encompassing the Inca empire. Sarmiento de Gamboa uses his knowledge in navigation and geography to provide a broad and detailed view of the territory.
  • 2. History of the Incas: In this section, Sarmiento de Gamboa narrates the history of the Incas, their rulers and the most important events that marked their empire. It focuses on the line of succession of Inca monarchs, from Manco Capac to Huayna Capac, providing details about their lives, achievements, and historical events.
  • 3. Discovery and conquest by the Spanish until 1572: The third part focuses on the period after the arrival of the Spanish in the region and the process of conquest. Sarmiento de Gamboa recounts how events unfolded after European contact, including exploration, interaction with natives, and the resulting social and political transformation.

These three parts of Indic History intertwine to provide a comprehensive view of the history, culture, and geography of the region that encompassed the Inca empire, offering readers a deep and rich understanding of this crucial period in South American history.

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